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This year at Confluence 2023, I had the amazing opportunity to write an episode of AMT live before an audience. We incorporated audience participation in the form of index cards with fresh words and die rolling in order to simulate the improv style storytelling that originated AMT as a sketchbook for writing.

The evening was a blast, and concluded with me writing the first portion of this story live via digital projector and explaining my process as we went. This is being published the following day after taking the evening and morning to finish up!

For anyone who attended Confluence or the panel itself, thank you so much for coming and being involved. I hope this shows a bit of what my process looks like and how random ideas can turn into interesting tidbits of storytelling. These aren't always perfect but the idea is to keep creating regardless of perfection. Thank you for the fun! Here is the final--now canon--episode of Opaline's great adventure.

This episode takes place sometime during Arc I: WORLDWALKER. . .


Friday July 21st 8:00pm

Live Improv Drafting: An A Many Tale Experience

A Special Episode:

Caught Not Captured

The sky set in the center of two black lands. Clouds parted from gravity’s touch, torn like the cruiser which soared through them. A starship sliced across the sky from nowhere. No portal, or stars, or distant horizon—from nowhere.

I stood on mountains and above me mountains reached down. Two parallel continents separated by a single sky, hovering a few kilometers apart.

Rain poured from the ship. Silver. Rain which spiraled from the smoke. Orange dotted the silver sheen—like a storm wall slamming from the blackness above. Those silver droplets weren’t liquid. From the mountain peak vantage, I noticed a peculiar stillness. Each drop flickered in reflective color.

Windshields beamed in the lights of the dying starcruiser. Side mirrors pulsated with greens, blues, and reds. Polished and chrome, waxed to a fine sheen, the silver drops rained down cars. The vehicles almost seemed to fall through water—slow, and sorrowful, like a sinking ship bound for doom.

The orange specks shifted more like insects than particles. Minuscule flanges flailed around them. Limbs. Those were people. .

The showering vehicles poured high and low, pulled to the gravity of both black lands parallel. As the cruiser grew smaller, leaving my view in a wake of fire and destruction, the vehicles seemed to float from the hangers of the cruiser before being pulled above and below.

The ship escaped any chance of my helping.

Where did they come from? How did they get here? People traveling through the cosmos looking for new worlds, or a ferry trip from city to city? Now families fell from the vessel bound to keep them safe. Now they faced death.

I could do nothing to stop it. The ship shifted further away leaving helpless victims in its wake. A kilometer. Then two. Then three.

Those people were closer to me. They fell hundreds of meters towards both grounds.

The slowness of their descent was no illusion. As time slows for tragedy, or triumph, and gives us our reflection of said time, we can recognize the instant. This was no such reaction. My mind played no tricks on me. I squinted from that mountain peak and focused. Keen, I spotted them.

Currents in the smoke. Patterns. Churning silver shapes like dye thrown in the pond.

Perhaps the two lands atop one another brought favor to this disaster. I took a breath deep in my lungs, set my feet on the crag of black stone, and pushed. I let my body overtake my Aura. My vantage changed. Rather than my eyes, my soul took the reins.

I saw the fingers of force tearing at the ship from two angles. The highest land relative to me in combat with the lowest. Neither could take the vessel for itself—nor the folk falling and their vehicles—as the other wrestled them away.

The ship soared through zero gravity due to the forces enacted on her haul. As folk drifted further from the center sky and her gravity-lacking clouds, the victims and their automobiles began feeling the slow tug of force again. The further from the center sky they drifted, the more gravity gained control again.

Maybe I could do something.

I Channeled the Force enacted on me—that new perspective—and allowed my body liberty from the mountain. My feet lifted off. I floated against gravity until I came to the section above entirely without, then soared towards the ship; intent on aiding any or all I could.

If only I had enough time to help them all.

{This is where the story finished at the event around 8:55, the remainder was written and revised upon arriving home}

I pulled myself across the wreckage towards the clouds of floating orange people. A mix of flying and bouncing from shattered pieces of the star cruiser stuck in zero gravity. The method made for a swift approach—I came to the first vehicle in mere moments.

Far larger than me, the car seemed built for a creature nearer three meters tall than my single meter in height. I crawled into the chrome cavern to find a fairly unfamiliar dashboard. Levers of odd positioning lie next to seats of peculiar form. Strange symbols dotted the glass pane behind the wheel, which my eyes adjusted to in time. The magic which imparted understanding of language vocally was not exclusive to sound. With a few moments to focus, I could read almost anything as well.

Dozens more empty automobiles floated around me, descending with a mild pull to the grounds.

They must have been ferrying the cars separately from the people—I didn’t see a person inside any of the cars around me. . . would that make it easier or harder to save them?

Easier. So much easier.

I crawled through an open window and onto the roof, which spun upside down from the smoke cloud wafting in the gravity well. A family of giant orange people—complete with enormous noses and extra large eyes—held hands. Realizing they were falling slower than initially imagined, the parents tried to keep their young children calm with songs. They shut their eyes and pulled them in close.

A screaming elderly woman cartwheeled through the sky. Pushed from the star cruiser with more speed, she maintained a quick pace. I leapt off the roof of the car and intercepted the giant. The old woman swatted me, “Off! Off!”

Perhaps they didn’t have rodent-looking folk where they came from. Perhaps they didn’t have rodents at all. To this old lady, she’d just been blown out of the haul of a cruiser and a small hairy creature wearing bardic clothes grabbed her.

Sometimes the absurdity of my existence surprised even me.

“Here to help! Hold on!” I said, my tongue quickly translating my words to her language. She, naturally, hit me harder.

I gave the old woman a gentle nudge towards the family. I prayed these people were a social sort of species, and accepting of those outside the family unit. Luckily it seemed so, as the mother in the family reached out a hand and took the old lady into their pile.

A child floated by. Quite young, it seemed. The equivalent of a six or seven year old human. Taller than me, I gave the crying little guy a tap on the foot and he, too, spun to the family.

The family inspired my strategy:

Get as many survivors as possible into one large pile holding hands, then carefully Channel the gravitational pull on that pile as the forces increase nearer the ground. Use the gradual shift to condition myself for the load and lower everybody safely to one of the two grounds.

Some of the first automobiles to fall off the cruiser were gaining speed towards the ground below me. Above me, I noticed a similar phenomena. Soon those cars would crash to the ground. No civilians came too close, yet, but I kept my eyes scanning all around in case.

I flew out of the mass of metal and civilians first, and grabbed outliers. Twenty or so children, fathers, mothers, and older folk who were expelled from the craft harsher than the rest. Once reined in, I noticed two members of the orange giants following my lead. They couldn’t fly as easily as me, but they used whatever control they had over their bodies in zero-to-low gravity to jump from car to car shepherding in members of their community.

The hand-holding bubble grew to nearly fifty in only a few minutes.

A crimson shadow soared above me. Wings long and graceful, face gold like the sun. Two enormous emerald eyes graced me as the four meter long avian rested her titanic talons on the roof of a car. She cocked her head back and forth—slender beak ticking over and over. She did not blink. The only sound heard from the bird came from her talons crushing the chrome beneath them.

At first I thought her a predator come to feast on the civilians. Their screams told the same assumption. But she merely stared, crimson feathers spotted with beige, gold head and emerald eyes infinitely eerie.

I didn’t have time to waste on the possible predator. There were still more passengers floating around. Another hundred people needed help, at the minimum. If the bird decided to strike or attack, then I would make a move.

For now, I ignored her.

I leapt into the void and soared after another round of civilians. I collected ten, twenty, then thirty in other handholding groups and would use Force sorcery to shift them towards the established crowd. We avoided vehicles, as the cars seemed to have fallen off the ship first. Other banded together and did the same, all helping one another survive without a thought of their own safety.

The avian trailed subtly behind. She watched from afar, leaping from distant car to car for greater view.

Blinding light. Shrill shriek. The world went silent, and then another. Brilliant gold flashes followed by the crack of thunder.

Lightning burst between the high and low ground, bridging the gap between the two lands.

Another flash of lightning.

Then another.

The cars! As the cars got pulled further by the gravity of the upper and lower lands, they eventually crashed into the ground below. The vehicles didn’t seem to make it to the ground at all, though, as lightning fried them before they touched down.

Another crash of lightning. Thunder shook the world.

How could I bring these people down to the ground if lightning strikes them beforehand? How did I lift off the mountain without being struck? Was it merely the magnetic signature of the automobiles that set off the reaction?

“Little rat will fail,” said a voice.

The majestic avian flew before me. Her feathers drooped low and slender, thickets more resembling long noodles than feathers at all. Her emerald eyes barreled in mine as she twitched her head back and forth.

“I’m a mouse,” I said to the bird, “not a rat.”

She cocked her head at my use of her language, feathers-noodles jiggling. “You speak this tongue?”

“I speak many. You say I’ll fail? Because of the lightning?”

“I’ve soared these skies half a century. Never have I landed. Never have I tried.”

“I rose from the mountains not too long ago. My feet touched the ground.” I’d blipped from another world roughly an hour before, and wandered the desolate black crag all that time. “No lightning.”

I theorized briefly that my blipping into the universe perhaps prevented the effects of the electrical charge. Magic can be tickled, especially mixing the effects of Creation between different universes or realms. My existence could sometimes exempt me from the specific effects of a world. The energy field caused by my soul appearing in space could even dissuade the lightning’s possibility.

“All, here, arrive in the place between pulls,” said the bird, “and are torn between them. You lie.”

My occurrence here did not matter, nor did my pride. The bird did not need to know of my Curse or my theories. I needed to save these people. I needed her help to do so, and her understanding of this place she’d been trapped in.

“We’re caught, not captured, here,” she paused. “Taken by circumstance and forced to this realm. . . no malevolent hand or force snatches us away and chains us. But trapped we are. Caught between two lands in an eternal sky. These people are wingless and without. They are like rocks in open water forced to swim forever. Except they are rocks.”

Before I had a moment to reply, she said, “Rocks cannot swim,” as if to emphasize her blunt point.

“You said you’ve never landed?” I said, feeling the pull of empathy. I’d been torn from world to world, place to place, friends to friends. Never did I touch the shores of a forever home—a place to live out my days. I’d formed lives in places I would never see or hear of again.

I never landed, either. But I did try. I made connections with the people around me, no matter the time I had there. Seconds, hours, months—the time made no difference, only the people. I reached to the shores of friendship and family. Though I knew I could never stay there, I lived while it lasted.

“You’ve never tried,” I said.

“Why try when one can die?”

“You’d rather float for all time than try to land?”

“At least this torture is living. My heart beats to some eternal drum I cannot recognize. I am trapped in life but I won’t squander that. Others would kill to live so long. My kind exist a mere twenty years. I’ve lived three times that—fifty of them here.”

Unsure of how her years compared to those of my homeworld, I had no relativity to my own lifespan. I did not inquire or care to know. Instead I said, “Will you help me, then?”

She cocked her golden head to the side.

“Help me give them a chance?”


I rode on the avian’s back as she cut through the zero gravity, legs clenched around her noodle-feathers. Now able to relax my Force sorceries, I could focus entirely on more specific tasks. We helped every one of the survivors. I prayed none floated the ground without my knowing, but I’d never know—the lightning flashes grew wilder with the cars rocketing to the grounds.

One hundred and ninety civilians. I heard them speaking about how many were left on the ship. A thousand, or more. They’d possibly make it. The cruiser soared tens of kilometers away by then. I’d do my best to follow the smoke trail after these people were safe.

Once the hand-holding crowd became an island of orange giants floating, I asked the bird—Phiquall, or Phi—to take me to each car and also any large chunks of the ship with were torn off. I Channeled any Force left in my exhausted body to drag those cars into another pile. In zero to low gravity, this was far easier than if not.

The automobiles formed their own island in several minutes. Twenty, then thirty. Too many fell down to the grounds above and below. Lightning struck and thunder boomed as we hurried to collect as many cars as possible. The further from the center gravity-lacking sky that Phi soared, the more challenging the task became.

Cars began to weigh as much as a car, and my worn Aura grew tired. When we gathered what we could, we nudged them into a flat, plate-like shape of cars.

“I do not understand,” said Phiquall, “these people will die. What will these shells do to help them?”

I jumped off Phi’s back and inhaled deeply. In my gut, the resonance of my stonefire sorcery burned. My eyes burned blue and orange. My body tensed and my Aura flared.

I let loose my breath on the pile of cars. Fiery, burning blue and orange stonefire. The fire engulfed the cars as I flew over, then under. In seconds the fire turned to stone, melting the cars into an amalgamation of shape.

When I finished, a little island floated in the void. The hand holding crowd “swam” through the air, making a careful approach to the raft. They touched down, but still maintained no gravity. The sensation of standing without standing is difficult to describe, and quite uncomfortable. All the forces which ground a person were lacking, but at least there was something to grab onto.

“How will this help?” Phi said again. “None of this will help. They are like me, now. Or maybe they will be blessed to death.”

“I thought you preferred the torture of living to death?”

“I do. But most do not,” she twitched her head, “these people cry and weep for loss. They will be thankful for an end. Do you think you helped them?”

I didn’t have an answer for her.

When I blipped, I realized that I never had an answer. I’d been trapped, too, in the puzzle of how to proceed. I wondered if I did the right thing. I wondered if there was a right thing. Those people would’ve died. They likely still would. No food, no water, floating in a sky with no ground to retreat too—nowhere to land.

I blipped only moments after forging the island. I never got to follow the ship and try to help anyone. I never could explore my theory that maybe, when the ship finally crashed, those people could still take refuge inside the haul and live out their days. Maybe they’d think of that on their own. Maybe the ship is destroyed, everyone lost their lives, all for another cruiser to go through the same situation.

I didn’t have answers. I didn’t know how to help but I tried my best.

All I knew was that Phiquall would be there to watch.



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